The Flash finally gave Batwoman fans some much-disclosed closure, and Nic wrote about it two glorious times this week. The opposite of healing? Oh, it’s The Last of Us! Beautiful trauma! Valerie Anne and Nic recapped that for you! On a related note, Heather asked Valerie Anne if they wanted to write about this newly YouTubed Bella Ramsey horror short and they said yes faster than the literal Flash. Kayla reviewed the slasher comedy series Wreck. And she wrote about the official full-length Yellowjackets trailer. And she delighted the entire internet with her Vanderpump Rules drama write-up. Riese wrapped up Love Trip: Paris. Drew recapped Drag Race. AND NATALIE KICKED OFF AUTOSTRADDLE MARCH MADNESS.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Top Chef returned for its 20th season this week but this time, it came with an international flare. This season is the first being filmed entirely abroad, with 12 of the 16 All-Star contestants coming from outside the US. Over half the competitors this year have won their previous Top Chef seasons. After one episode I can tell you two things: first, there seem to be a dearth of gay contestants this year and second, given who the competitors are, I expected a better. Also? It doesn’t help that this show is airing at the same time as Food Network’s Tournament of Champions which is both gayer (though not this week) and more exciting, right out of the gate.
But Top Chef still has Padma which is enough to keep me watching. I’ll keep you updated with any additional developments. — Natalie
Station 19 609: “Come as You Are”
Written by Carmen
While the pain is unbearable, there is something that I appreciate about how Station 19 is handling the fall out of Maya’s mental health distress and the subsequent (I’m hopeful, for now) break up of Maya and Carina: We are getting to see them separately, as their own people, for once. Last week we focused in on Maya, who has a lot of healing and unpacking to do now that she’s home from the hospital. But this week, we spent the largest amount of time with Carina alone that I think we’ve had since she moved from Grey’s to Station 19 full time. Stefania Spaminato is such a talent and the layers that she brings to Carina, even in “lighterwp_postsplots — which arguably could be said of this week’s episode — are always carefully drawn and shine.
But first, a little more Maya. Following Dr. Tracie Thoms’ advice, Maya is trying very hard not to call Carina, and is focusing on her meditation app. The calming voice on her phone encourages her to breath in and out, but on every inhale Maya sees Carina’s face, the laughter they shared, the sex they’ve had, the sweet sweet kisses (all excellent use of old footage from past seasons, by the way!) and on every exhale she sees each fight between them. Finally, not able to handle anymore, Maya breaks down and calls her wife. She is sorry, she is so sorry. But she thinks she’s better, she knows that Carina makes her better, and won’t Carina please consider coming back home?
Meanwhile, it’s clinic day at the firehouse. And Carina has a new patient, a very sweet pregnant Black woman with nerdy glasses and supreme confidence in her own skin (loved her, by the way). She was warned by her friends — the infamous weed lesbians from Grey’s season 14 and no, I will never know them as anything else — that Carina would be distractingly beautiful, but nothing can really prepare you for seeing Dr. Orgasm in real life. So Carina performs her exam while the patient respectfully flirts. Carina laughs and smiles like the sun and if it wasn’t for the fact that we already know that Maya’s sitting at home in a world of hurt, I would even say it was wholesome.
At the end of her appointment the patient asks Carina if maybe she’d like to go for a coffee sometime? Or a drink? (Obviously, being two hundred months extremely pregnant, she will not be drinking! But she can watch Carina drink, and they could spend time together).
Surprisingly, Carina says yes. It’s been brought to my attention — hi, Twitter! — that Carina doesn’t explicitly say yes, but I felt like it was pretty implied. Sorry about that.
Ok, later that night, Carina returns home to Maya and Carina’s apartment. At first, Maya leaps up. Carina’s home, and maybe, just maybe she could breathe again. But Carina’s only there to get her shampoo (she can’t deal with the hotel bottle one more night) and in case you forgot — the reason she moved out is because Maya told her to. Maya hurt Carina, over and over again. No matter how many times Carina begged Maya to get help, Maya refused until she was being restrained in a hospital bed.
Carina’s so happy that Maya is doing better. She only wants for Maya’s wholeness. But them getting back together? That is going to take a lot more time.
Grey’s Anatomy 1909: “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”
Written by Carmen
Listen, I don’t want to say that I’m proud that I’m the kind of eagle-eyed Grey’s stan that 19 years into this epic rollercoaster with no ending sight (even after Callie left! Even after Cristina left! Now even after Meredith left!) I still yelped over .03 seconds of former intern Helm at current intern Yasuda’s house party during last week’s trailer for this episode. I am merely saying that I am who I am.
And less than 15 minutes into yesterday’s Grey’s Anatomy I knew that my good faith had been rewarded. We were barely past the first commercial break and we had already seen: THE LONG AWAITED RETURN OF HOT DOCTOR KAI (via Amelia’s FaceTime, but they took my breath away in a black tank top so I’m counting it), a pregnant lesbian giving birth at Grey Sloane Memorial, and most importantly for our interests — Helm taking Levi to the intern party with the explicit goal of helping her bestie have some sex because, and I quote, “you are where fun goes to die.”
On the surface Helm might have been there to be Levi‘s wingwoman, but in reality she doesn’t take her eyes off of Yasuda from the minute she crosses the doorstep of the intern house. Did I forget to mention that the interns have moved into Meredith’s house now that Mer has left for Boston? And yes, this entire episode is giving episode 105 “Shake Your Groove Thingwp_postsin which the first generation interns throw a drunken party, Meredith falls asleep while holding a heart and pops a hole into with her nails, and Izzie’s boyfriend shows up just in time for them to break up. But you know what?? If returning back to the original recipes is what it takes to make Grey’s Anatomy worth watching again, then I say we simply must do what we have to do!!!
Ok back to Helm. Helm encourages Levi to let loose and Yasuda — who looks effortlessly hot and cool, I have to say. There’s this thing that Yasuda does with her hair where it’s messily in a side part and her whole energy is just a vibe —— corners her almost instantly. She awkwardly says hello to Levi (her boss) before almost immediately offering to show Helm where they’re keeping the good booze.
The good booze leads to story time, and when Yasuda mentions a girl she hooked up with in med school the look that Helm gives from her beneath her eyelashes — a cross between a fox in a hen house and the winning contestant on The Voice — that is almost imperceivable, but Jaicy Elliot just nails it. If you know what to look for, it’s right there and even though Jaicy doesn’t pull focus from the scene it’s impossible to take your eyes off of her. Of course, Yasuda asks Helm if she’d like to see the roof… for reasons… and of course, Helm says yes.
We don’t actually get to see Helm and Yasuda hook up, but I would defy anyone to tell that’s not what happened on the roof once the cameras were off them. Their body language is telling a story and that story is get ready: A Great Grey’s Gay Ship Is Getting Ready to Sail Again.
(Helm and Yasuda end the episode dancing together after the party is over, drunk happy and riding the high their night’s long flirtations. The overhead camera work is an exact replica of Meredith and Cristina’s infamous “dance it outwp_postsscenes and I would complain about being so directly pandered to like this… but it works? It all just works! Without feeling cheap or overly-nostalgic. And I just love it. Welcome home, Grey’s.)
A Million Little Things 505: “No Place Like Home”
Written by Natalie
Two weeks ago, in this very space, I hoped the writers would do more with Katherine’s character. Since realizing she was also into women, Katherine’s storyline has been entirely about those relationships. When this week’s episode started with Katherine in her power suit and talking about depositions, I thought the writers had magically anticipated my needs. They remembered that Katherine has an identity outside her relationship with Greta! But, nope…I fell for the old bait and switch…this is another storyline for Katherine entirely about her relationship.
My frustrations aside, Katherine’s relationship is kinda perfect. Greta anticipates all of her needs — her dry-cleaned power suit, a spinach salad for lunch — and when Theo needs help, Greta’s there to pick up the slack. And when Katherine’s assistant, Carter, needs someone to cover-up the tattoo of his ex’s name — which is alienating his current boyfriend — Greta’s there to help with that too. She clears her schedule and inks up the template for Carter’s cover-up. As Greta works, Carter recalls getting married in the post-They get along famously, trading memories of their shared time in New York, as Greta turns the name of Carter’s ex-husband into a testament to the struggle he (and the LGBT community) endured to achieve marriage equality: FREEDOM.
I cannot tell you how hard I rolled my eyes at that. My goodness. Did we time travel back to 2011 and nobody told me? How is this a story you’re telling about queer people in 2023? Do these writers read the news? Coincidentally, the same week this aired the Tennessee House passed a bill that allows county clerks and officiants to refuse to solemnize marriages based on personal belief. So, you know…very timely message there, AMLT…but I digress.
Later that night, Katherine and Greta are getting ready for bed and Katherine can’t help but reflect on how seamlessly Greta fits into her world. Theo interrupts and regales the couple with another thing he learned from his field trip to the science museum…a field trip which Greta helped make possible. After he shares his bit of dinosaur trivia, he says goodnight and says “love you guys” as he exits. Greta’s astounded: Theo loves her and she realizes that she loves him too. She collapses on the bed, so profoundly happy, and Katherine follows…laying next to Greta as they both profess their love for each other.
Truth Be Told 308: “The Luxury in Self-Reproach”
Written by Natalie
From the moment that Drea Spivey was taken, Eva Pierre has been on a process of excavation. It has been excruciating and it has been destabilizing but when she relives it all on Poppy’s podcast, she finds a purpose for her pain. If she can help other survivors, if she can initiate legal proceedings against Andrew Finney, then the unearthing of her trauma will not have been in vain. She has to get her story out; otherwise, all the excavation, all the pain, it will have been for nothing. But also? Whatever judgment comes from her appearance on the podcast, Eva wants. She feels like she deserves it…like this is her fault…and she needs to feel the backlash.
But Poppy doesn’t understand that. If people hear that Eva admit to recruiting other girls into the trafficking ring, her life will be destroyed, Poppy surmises. As a result, she opts against releasing the podcast episode with Eva admitting her complicity. But this doesn’t go over well with Eva. She stops responding to Poppy’s messages and is almost despondent when Poppy comes over to check on her.
Poppy thinks she’s done Eva a favor — protecting her reputation while finding another way to bring Finney down — but Eva is unmoved. She wonders why Poppy hasn’t released her episode of the podcast…though it’s clear she knows why, she just needs to hear Poppy say it aloud. Poppy insists that Eva doesn’t need to sacrifice herself but that just makes Eva more irate. How does Poppy know how her students and parents will react when they hear her confession, Eva wonders aloud. They get into a shouting match: Poppy insisting that she doesn’t know anything for sure, Eva acknowledging that the reason Poppy knows how they’ll react is because of how she, herself, reacted.
Left without a purpose to her pain, Eva turns her pain into anger and confronts Finney directly. He recognizes her as the principal of Oak Creek High School and slips into campaign mode, assuring her that the kids of Oakland are his top priority. Eva knows that, intimately. She reveals that 30 years ago her name was Tamara. Finney doesn’t acknowledge knowing her — he thinks she’s wearing a wire — but the way he gulps nervously when she says it is enough confirmation for me. She recalls how he pimped her out and then, when she wasn’t enough, forced her to recruit other girls. She reminds him of his promise to help her mother and how she was deported and later died instead. Finney denies any knowledge and insists that Eva has him confused with someone else. Her eyes brimming with tears, Eva stands resolute.
“You took everything from me: my mother, my pride, my worth,” she confesses.
“Sounds like someone really hurt you,” Finney responds.
Eva turns to leave — after telling him to go to hell — but Finney calls her back. He regrets that she’s filled with so much anger and hopes that one day, she’ll be able to channel it into something more productive. As the words leave his mouth, he takes Eva’s arm, pushes up the sleeve, and searches for his brand. It’s long gone…but, again, it’s a quiet confirmation that Finney is exactly the person Eva remembers him being.
Sometime later, in that same parking garage, someone runs Andrew Finney over with a car. Twice. Hits him once, sees he’s not dead, then backs up and runs over him again.
When Poppy returns to Eva’s to tell her of Finney’s death, she’s unmoved. She notes that Finney got what he deserved and assures Poppy that she’ll be okay. Eva apologizes to Poppy for her harshness earlier, explaining that she only lashed out because she felt she deserved Poppy’s harshness in return. Poppy offers her own apology: an admission that she judged Eva after hearing about her complicity. Again, Eva is unmoved, but thanks Poppy for her honesty.
Poppy recruits Eva to help her continue the investigation: turns out, Finney wasn’t the head of the snake. Someone else was blackmailing him (and, apparently, bugging his office) to force him to recruit girls into the trafficking ring. Poppy’s committed to finding who’s behind all of it — including who murdered Andrew Finney — but Eva seems less than interested in that last part. She pivots, abruptly, to offering Poppy some tea…and we’re all left wondering if it was Eva behind the wheel of the car that killed Andrew Finney.
How I Met Your Father Episode 207: “A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Valentine’s Day”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week’s very special Valentine’s episode is mostly heterosexual nonsense, but overall it’s pretty cute. Sophie and Valentina celebrate S’Valentines day together every year, because the day they met was on Valentine’s Day in college when they realized they’d been dating the same guy and decided to get revenge together, but Ellen doesn’t want to hear sweet Valentine’s Day stories, she wants to hear about Valentine’s Days past that really bombed. Because she and Rachel were excited to spend their first Valentine’s together – Ellen even got Rachel a nude ice sculpture of herself but then had to go help a relative in Florida (to which Ellen yells, “SHE’S EXTREMELY CARING” and it’s cute.)
Everyone’s stories vary in horror, and during Sophie’s tales, they actually use a legitimate clip of Hilary Duff in Lizzie McGuire and it’s very funny.
When her friends’ stories don’t work to cheer her up, Ellen says she wants something truly pathetic and turns to her brother. He tells a series of stories of when he told girls he loved them way too soon, often before his first conversation with them. This makes Sophie feel less special but they talk about it and end up making up. It’s funny, I remember watching the original How I Met Your Mother and feeling desperate to find out who the mother was. (In the early seasons, at least.) But this show I don’t actually care about Full Grown Sophie besides the fact that I like hearing Kim Cattrall tell stories. I’m just enjoying this band of dorks be sloppy in their 20s.
In the end, Valentine’s Day is saved because Rachel long-distance orders Ellen a pizza and they have a long-distance date instead. Love is still a lie, but pizza is truth, so I consider this a happy ending.
Fantasy Island Episode 208: “Walk a Country Mile”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week we only have one Island guest here for a fantasy, and it’s Marie Osmond and despite being a little bit rock and roll, she’s playing country star Shay Fury, who is most famous for her song about walking a country mile in someone else’s shoes. Of course, this means that, despite thinking her fantasy is about her writer’s block, this is what her fantasy will eventually try to teach her, because the second fantasy of the week isn’t a second guest’s, but her assistant Beau’s. They swap places for the week, Shay returning to her roots as a Regular Gal and Beau getting a taste of fame, but choking when he gets his shot to perform because of something Shay once said to him. In the end they realize they can work as a team, and Shay’s guilt about holding him back just because he was a great assistant lifts, lifting her writer’s block along with it.
As for the rest of our island family, Helene and Javier learn more about each other, leading to Javier offering to pay for Helene to go back to school and continue training to be an Olympic skier. A bit out of the blue but fine I guess; the only downside is this means she’s leaving the island STAT. As she leaves Helene says goodbye to her “special granny friend” Ruby, and tells Elena that she made Javier happy. Between that and being jealous of Shay flirting with Javier, perhaps Elena is ready to make things right with him.
Elsewhere, Ruby and Isla are canoodling on the beach, and when Ruby spots Elena approaching, she admits to Isla she hasn’t told anyone about them yet. Isla says she doesn’t have to, that what they have can be between them, but Ruby is ready, so she skips out and asks Elena is she wants to meet her new someone special, but when they return to the cuddle cabana, Isla is gone. When Ruby finds her again later, Isla promises soon she’ll explain to Ruby why she doesn’t have a phone, why she’s resistant to telling people, why she’s so elusive,
that she IS the island, but Ruby just has to wait a little longer. Ruby says she will wait, because Isla is worth it.
The Watchful Eye Episode 107: “Out Like a Light”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, Kim comes over to visit Ginny, because the Nanny Squad is throwing Kim a mini party because she’s going on vacation with her clients. Ginny invited Kim over earlier than Alex and James, and when Kim is surprised Elena isn’t here, Ginny admits that she didn’t invite her because she’s working on setting boundaries.
But Elena is next door, and while Roman is scolding her and Bennet is spying and Kim and Ginny are almost kissing, suddenly: blackout, blackout! Kim and Ginny want to have a candlelit date, but Bennett would rather hang with the gays than Elena and Roman. Kim suggests a séance, out comes the Ouija board.
While those five are trapped upstairs, Mrs. Ivy is trapped in an elevator with Alex and James. Luckily there’s a giant bench in this elevator, and Alex and James brought booze, so they have a nice chat. Mrs. Ivy tells Alex, “Girls like you should keep your options open.” Alex says “not a girl” but thanks her anyway, and Mrs. Ivy looks surprised. Alex talks to James about how they aren’t sure James understands what it means to be dating a non-binary person; even though Alex often presents as what society would call ‘feminine’ they are not in a cis-het relationship. James asks if dating them means he’s not straight and Alex says they can’t answer that question for him.
Mrs. Ivy chimes in again and tells James that Alex “knows what they’re talking about.” When Alex looks impressed, Mrs. Ivy says she went to Vassar and tells them to pour her a drink. She says it takes courage to live a life others may not understand, and spends the rest of the blackout telling Alex and James stories of her wild youth. Eventually Alex gets so tipsy they confess that they snuck into the Save New York gala last week.
Upstairs, Ginny and Kim find a moment alone, and Kim burns her finger while lighting a candle. Ginny kisses her boo-boo, so Kim kisses Ginny in return, right on the lips. Candlelight blackout kiss, let’s go!
Roman and Elena end up getting a message on the Ouija board from Jocelyn’s ghost when they ask her where the ruby is. They get a clue that leads them to find letters under a step in the secret passageway, which they all use to get back downstairs. When Mrs. Ivy returns to her apartment and hears Elena stuck in the secret room, she locks the door and plays the piano, ignoring her cries.
After kissing Kim goodbye and promising her a date when she gets back, Ginny storms upstairs to confront Elena, saving her from the secret room. Tired of pushing everyone away, Elena confesses to Ginny that she’s known Roman her whole life, and that they want to take down the Greybournes because they screwed over her and Roman’s family, leading to Elena’s dad taking his own life.
That night, Elena looks through the letters she found, learning what I’ve been trying to tell her for weeks: Ruby isn’t a gemstone, it’s the name of a child that resulted from Jocelyn’s affair with Allistair Greybourne.